CHS softball seeks improvement

This year’s Carlinville High School girls softball team includes, front row, from left, Mikaela Morrison, Maddie Jenkins, Kristen Bates, Baylee Hughes, Ashley Starr and Nicole Kessinger; back, head coach Quinn Steiner, Alex Mullink, Hannah Wilton, Anessa Hart, Jade McFarland, Carley Kulenkamp, Megan Stayton, Brooke Jamieson, Ariel Dohm, Brittany Wiser, assistant Jillian Schneider and pitching coach Bob Bell.

By Daniel Winningham
Carlinville High School’s softball program is looking for more improvement under second-year head coach Quinn Steiner.

“I’m excited about this year,” Steiner said earlier this week. “It’s much easier because they know my system, it’s already in from last year. We had a real good summer program. We had camps and practices.”

The program is allowed 25 contact days during the summer months and Steiner said several players — those not involved in basketball — also took part in open gym sessions during the school year.

“These girls really worked hard, and we’ve got a couple that play on select teams,” Steiner said.

At the early stage of practice, the team has worked on fundamentals, according to Steiner.

Jade McFarland and Baylee Hughes will be the main pitchers for this year’s varsity squad.

In addition, Steiner said the team should be improved on offense.

“I think the middle of our line-up, hitting-wise, will be a little stronger this year,” Steiner said. “We should score a few more runs. It’s looking a lot better. We’ve got a little more speed than we did last year, so maybe we can steal a few more bases.”

Steiner is optimistic the team will see positive results based on an improved mental approach.

“We have worked on attitude, and being positive, and I think it’s really helped,” Steiner said.
Steiner will be assisted this season by Jillian Schneider. Bob Bell returns to serve as the team’s pitching coach.

A year ago, Carlinville finished the season with a 6-16 record.

This year’s roster is comprised of three seniors: outfielder Kristen Bates, outfielder/designated hitter Ariel Dohm and outfielder Maddie Jenkins; four juniors: first baseman Brooke Jamieson, pitcher/third baseman Jade McFarland, second baseman/outfielder Alex Mullink and shortstop Ashley Starr; three sophomores: catcher Carley Kulenkamp, outfielder Mikaela Morrison and first baseman/second baseman/third baseman Megan Stayton; and five freshmen: outfielder/shortstop Anessa Hart, pitcher/second baseman Baylee Hughes, outfielder Nicole Kessinger, outfielder/third baseman Hannah Wilton and outfielder Brittany Wiser.

Conference outlook
Steiner thinks several squads should vie for the top spot in the South Central Conference.

“It may not be quite as tough (as last year),” Steiner said. “The upper end lost some pitchers but the lower end gained some pitchers. It’s more of an even conference.”

Marquette Catholic of Alton is no longer in the conference. Carlinville is joined by Roxana, Pana, Staunton, Vandalia, Hillsboro, Greenville, Litchfield, Southwestern and Gillespie in the conference. Six of Carlinville’s nine scheduled conference games are at home this year, including:
• April 1 vs. Staunton;
• April 5 vs. Greenville;
• April 8 vs. Hillsboro;
• April 22 vs. Roxana;
• April 24 vs. Gillespie;
• May 9 vs. Pana.

Not counting the North Mac tournament, this year’s schedule has 28 games — 15 at home at 13 on the road. All home games are played at Loveless Park.

Begin season March 16
Carlinville starts the season Saturday, March 16, when it takes part in a four-team round-robin tournament hosted by North Mac High School. CHS is scheduled to face North Mac at 8 a.m., Auburn at noon and Granite City at 2 p.m.

The team hasn’t had the opportunity to practice on its home field yet.
“Our first time on a field could be our first game,” Steiner said.

Year        Record
2010        5-19
2011        1-21
2012        6-16